Mantua VFW to host 1st annual 5K event to support Korean War veterans

The race will take place at Chestnut Branch Park at 9 a.m on Oct. 12.

Mantua VFW is hosting its first-ever 5K event, Running for Vets. 

The race will take place at Chestnut Branch Park at 9 a.m on Oct. 12. Guests can choose between the park’s 5K course or walk on its one-mile course. 

The entry fee, which includes an event T-shirt, is $30 for the 5K and $25 for the one-mile walk. 

Event proceeds benefit Korean War veterans and the Mantua VFW. 

“They have the same priorities as we do as far as helping veterans,” said Joe Heitman, a member of the VFW and the 5K committee. “They still need funds to keep their organization going.”

Awards for the 5K will be given to the first overall male and female finishers. The race will be divided by age groups 19 and under, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and over. Ribbons will be given to all one-mile finishers. 

The run will start and finish at Chestnut Branch Park. The race will take runners along Main Street to Evergreen Avenue then will turn back to end at the pavilion in the park. A local Boy Scout troop the VFW charters will help man the water stations along the run. 

“We’re hoping for as many runners as possible,” said Heitman.

Pre-entry is available up to Oct. 9. Please visit www.linmarksports.com to complete the individual entry form and entry fee payment. Walk-up entry is also available on the event day from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the park. Visit the Mantua VFW Post 7679 Facebook page for more information. 

The awards will be given at the VFW Post 7679, located at 8 New York Ave. and Main Street, across from the Mantua Police Building. There, guests can enjoy refreshments with hot dogs, assorted snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. 

The group will use some of the funds from the 5K towards its own local events, like when it hosts award nights and dinners at the VFW for police officers, volunteers or anyone who gives their time to help the community.

Some of the things that the VFW does in the community is participating in the Polar Bear Plunge event, which donates money to the New Jersey Special Olympics.

“We try to stay community-minded and unfortunately a lot of people think we’re just another bar down the street,” said Heitman.

The event is sponsored by businesses from Mantua and the surrounding area, including Nancy Kowalik Real Estate Group, Leonard Electric, NJ M&M Electric, NJ Manuta VFW Post 7679 Auxiliary, Delcrest Signs and American Legion Post 133. 

“Come out and help some of your local veterans,” said Heitman.